“Is she about to do what I think she is about to do”?
That was the question buzzing around the Linda Faye Stevenson Theater on North Atlanta High School campus Thursday night when APS Superintendent Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen completed her solo “jam session” with the North Atlanta High School Orchestra; and then whirled her violin above her head, as if she was channeling her inner rock star and about to smash the instrument on the floor.
As Dr. Carstarphen brought the violin down towards the floor, as if chopping wood with an ax, the lights went out!
But of course, she didn’t destroy the instrument. She simply took a bow and the show went on with the real stars of the night.
Indeed, the sweet sound of classical music washed over the roar of post rush hour traffic on Northside Drive, as the orchestra presented its annual fall concert, “A Joyful Noise.”
The concert, which was free to the public, gave the community an opportunity to hear one of the top high school orchestras in Georgia. The 115-member ensemble at North Atlanta has scored at the “superior” level” – the highest level awarded – for the last five consecutive years at the Georgia Musical Educators Association’s Large Group Performance Evaluation, an annual event in which orchestras from around the state are judged and graded on tone, intonation, technique, balance, musicality and other factors.
The concert was a fitting warm-up for the orchestra’s participation in next week’s Kennesaw State University Concert Invitational, scheduled for November 6, according to North Atlanta Orchestra Director Stephen Lawrence. North Atlanta is one of 13 orchestras selected to compete in the competition, in which nationally renowned music educator David Eccles will be a guest judge and will conduct a mini clinic for each group, following its performance.
“This is the first year they’ve done it for orchestras. We had to submit a recording and we found out we had been selected to participate,” Lawrence said. “It’s a good opportunity. We’re excited about it.”